Diversity at SSFS

SSFS All-School Diversity Statement:
Sandy Spring Friends School embraces the values of the Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers. Quaker values are grounded in the belief that there is that of God in everyone. This belief – along with the continuous quest to seek the truth – is central to the understanding that diversity of thought, identity and experience is essential to academic excellence, personal growth and spiritual development. Our School is committed to fostering a diverse community of students, faculty, staff, administrators, trustees and families who accept, appreciate and respect each individual’s uniqueness.


MS Student Diversity Committee Posters

As a final project of the 2016-2017 school year, students of the Middle School Student Diversity Committee crafted unique and inspiring posters to be displayed throughout the Middle School in stairwells, hallways, and classrooms. Members of the student committee (Mia Vasco, Peace Fasalojo, Shuayb Oweis, Armaan Boparai, and Jordan Carpenter) created and designed each poster to inspire students to celebrate their cultures, explore their roots, and be proud of what makes them unique. After a successful year of student run diversity activities--such as "Music of Our Cultures," a weekly diverse music sharing at recess organized by the committee--the MS Student Diversity Committee is proud of their work on these final posters, and they look forward to inspiring the MS community again next year!

Through the collaborative coordination and outreach between Upper School English teacher and intern coordinator Ariel Voorhees and the Middle School Spanish teacher Ligia Gorton, one section of 8th grade Spanish had the wonderful opportunity to have a senior intern, Jordi Martinez '17, in their MS Spanish class. Jordi became part of the section at the beginning of the year, from becoming a friendly observer, to stepping in to participate in interactive games, and becoming an active intern in the MS Spanish class. Throughout this year, Jordi helped lead games, created stories, led warm-ups, read and created reading comprehension activities, taught and led several reviews, guided grammar explanations, helped create a Christmas Scavenger hunt, participated in several cultural activities, sang along with students, played soccer, and corrected drafts. Undoubtedly, Jordi brought to this section his nice, kind, playful and calm personality while helping to enrich our diversity experiences in class discussions. This section of 8th grade and Ligia could have not had a better year working and learning from each other. It was a fulfilling experience for all. We wish Jordi the best to come as he embraces his new college career.

Youth Peace Conference: May 13

May 13 marks the second annual Youth Peace Conference held on the SSFS campus! YPC is an annual student-led and student-attended event sponsored by the Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting, focusing on how prejudice and otherization prevent peace. With this year's theme, "Intersectionality of 'Isms,'" participants will explore the root causes and impacts of systems of discrimination in our society, such as racism, sexism, ableism, and homophobia, among others. Students from grades 8-12 are invited to attend and will receive 6 community service hours as an added bonus. Registration deadline is May 10, 2017!

The schedule for the upcoming conference features keynote speaker Dr. Kumea Shorter-Gooden, the former diversity officer at UMD and one of two girls to integrate the Madeira school in the 1960's. The conference schedule also includes workshops by local social justice organizations and student leaders from partnering schools (Sherwood, Blake, and Good Counsel High Schools, and the Muslim Community Center).

The registration link for the conference can be found here.

Diverse student perspectives are central to YPC, and sharing your perspective through a workshops is an opportunity to get even more involved! Students leading workshops can directly share their experiences and speak out on a system of discrimination that affects them--and get extra service hours in the process. Guidelines and sign-ups can be found here.

With any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to student organizers Marzi and Samaa.

For over a decade, the U.S. has experienced an increasing amount of islamophobic sentiment in culture, media, and politics. This cultural transformation has changed from belief to policy with the recent national travel ban from six different predominantly Muslim countries. This act is both contrary to the American principle of religious freedom and the basic human tenets of respect and decency. In an act of simultaneous disagreement with this policy and education of our community, we will be hosting Muslim speakers from the six countries on the travel ban list to discuss their experience both in America and their country of origin. This event is open to the SSFS community, and its goals would be to fight against this rise in American Islamophobia, provide education to the SSFS community on the issue, and provide resources on how to take action. Click here for flyer.

The theme for the year in our World History II class has been challenging power and authority. As a part of their nationalism unit, students sent letters to the President articulating their views on his nationalistic language. They also submitted these letters to Friends Journal Student Voices project. Of 300 students that submitted their pieces, Jacob Orloff was chosen to be one of the few students who are going to be featured in the May publication of Friends Journal. Read Jacob's letter here. Congratulations, Jacob!

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